Promises, Promises!

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “promise.” We would love to have you join us.

It’s a rainy May Day here in Western ND. And on rainy days, I can’t help but think of Noah and the flood. Noah did as God commanded and built the arc. Two of every animal on the arc. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Then God sent a dove and placed a rainbow in the sky…a promise that this would never happen again.

What kind of promise or what did God mean by this promise? Because in our world, we still experience floods. That’s the thing about water it can be a blessing or it can be a curse. It makes me think about the rainbow and what God truly meant by this promise. What do you think?

The rainbow is a beautiful gift that God gave us. When I see the rainbow, I’m reminded of the promise given to me, to all of us in Baptism. “Tara Lee, you are a baptized child of God whatever else you are; remember that you are that; for that is the basis of whatever else you are.” In Baptism, God calls and claims us and promises to never leave or forsake us.

What kind of promises are we willing to make? Do we make promises that we can’t keep? I always remind my Confirmation students, don’t make a promise you can’t keep. Promises that are kept give us hope.

Making Room

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “practice.” We would love to have you join us.

Practice for this…..

Practice for that…

It seems today’s kids are always practicing for something.

Does practice always make perfect?

What if we are doing something we just don’t enjoy or trust have the skills for?

I am always practicing my writing. I want my words to embody God’s love in the world. I want them to glorify God. I want my words to be a gift to my readers.

This last week I’ve been thinking of the legacy of Rachel Held Evans. Her words left in bestsellers. This woman of valor who always spoke up for those on the margins. This woman of valor who never met a stranger. Even though you may have never met her, she felt like your best friend. I want to practice being more like her! I want to embody the kind of love God showed all God’s people! I want to make room at the table!

For A Woman of Valor….

I pick up the book and run my fingers across the binding of this book. Her name spanning the width of the book….Rachel Helds Evan. It was the first place I read her name as I picked up my own copy of Searching for Sunday. Her words balm to my soul as I read the entire book in three days.

To be honest, the church can sometimes be a messed up yet glorious place. There have been times in my life when I’ve had to search out and seek words that would lift up my soul. Rachel’s words have always spoken to me in that very way.

So when the words of Rachel’s death finally hit social media, my heart broke. In that moment, I wanted to do everything in my power to turn back time; to make sure none of this happened. But the reality was all to real. I knew that as the tears trickled down my face.

Here I am grieving someone I never met. Yet her words, her generosity, her being were a gift to me and the world. I am grieving that her chiildren are growing up without her. I am grieving that there will be no more words from her. I am grieving a sister in Christ who I easily could have sat down with over coffee and dreamed up ways to be the church in this broken world.

And yet in our grief, I see the wider church coming together once again because of this beautiful woman of valor.

“Church is a moment in time when the kingdom of God draws near, when a meal, a story, a song, an apology, and even a failure is made holy by the presence of Jesus among us and within us. Church was alive and well long before we came up with the words relevant and missional, and church will go on long after the grass grows through our cathedral floors. The holy Trinity doesn’t need our permission to carry on in their endlessly resourceful work of making all things new. That we are invited to catch even a glimpse of the splendor is grace. All of it, every breath and every second, is grace.” (Searching For Sunday, Rachel Held Evans; P. 1)

In addition, some of Rachel’s last words reminded us of the reality of life, death and resurrection. “Death is a part of life.” Today, this week, the next hour, the next minute, this reality is so raw, so real as we mourn this dear woman of God.

Thank You for showing us what the church should and can look like. In your honor, I will work to make that church; that kingdom appear on earth. Thank You for your words. Thank You for all you gave us. But, Rachel, thank You doesn’t seem enough! May you Rest In Peace!

Opportunity Knocked

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is opportunity.” We would love to have you join us.

“Call me”….the text read from my sister last week. I picked up the phone and called her back. A new opportunity arose and she couldn’t help but take it. A new beginning in a new place. She had interviewed the week prior.

That’s right, friends, my sister is moving to my community. We will be living in the same town. We are both excited. Our cats can have play dates. We can go on movie dates when we want to.

Today, we looked at apartments and everything feels even more real. This is really happening! How cool is that?! Two sisters hanging out more.

Opportunity knocked….and she answered.

Touch

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “touch.” We would love to have you join us.

Her precious body curled up on mine. My hand runs across her fur. So soft. Her tongue licks my hand. Her head butts up again me…telling me to pet her or play with her. My sweet precious kitty Luna….balm to my soul.

His little hand in mine. His voice yelling my name, “Tara, look, look, I found more eggs.” His joy infectious.

She bolts down the aisle to get to me. She has to tell me the latest news in her world. Sometimes she has to tap my leg to get my attention.

Their hands work the soil. They plant seeds with the tractor. They harvest the field later on. Right now, it’s hard to do anything; touch any of the land. It’s so sloppy and muddy; 117 inches of snow on the farm this winter. It makes calving and planting more complicated.

A hot beverage touches my lips. The tea soothes my soul as it trickles down my throat.

Touch is all around us. Touch reminds us of the gifts we’ve been given…to use our hands, our feet, our eyes, our ears, etc. I love the ways touch find their way into my everyday.

Sunday Blessings 250

(1) Colleagues who share a coffee gift card so we can all partake.

(2) New show: Bless this Mess

(3) Preaching at the Maundy Thursday worship

(4) Easter breakfast prep with KD

(5) Hugs from CT and RT’s girls

(6) DQ yumminess

(7) Visiting with YS after the tenebrae service

(8) Making Easter surprise cookies

(9) A Easter package from Aunt C

(10) Easter!

(11) Jack Links Turkey Jerky

(12) Z so excited to show me his Easter eggs

(13) KF giving me a hug this morning

(14) Easter dinner with EO and LG

(15) American Idol Disney night

Holding Hands with Grief

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “next.” We would love to have you join us.

Grief holds my hand

As I stand at the foot

Of the cross.

My savior

Humiliated

A crown of thorns

Upon his head

Nails driven

Into his hands and side

Blood poured out

Blood that is his

And not ours.


Shouts of crucify him

Darkness befalls

His body lifeless

This day is what it’s all about. We cannot have Easter without the pain and reality of Good Friday. Jesus must die before he can be raised. I often find myself imagining I’m standing at the foot of the cross waiting for Jesus to take himself down. Yet he doesn’t. Tears and grief are holding my hand as I wonder and wait for what’s next.


From Barrenness to New Life

The land is barren and dry as we began our Lenten journey. As we stand on the barren road, a cross placed on our foreheads we hear, “From dust you came; to dust you shall return.” On that dry barren Lenten weary road, I sometimes find myself wanting to just sit down and rest; to wait until someone comes along so we can walk together along this weary road. This road seems so very long with no end in sight.

Yet eventually we come to the end of the road where Jesus is now riding on a donkey. Cloaks being laid out on the road and palm branches waving in the air; heralding his arrival. Jesus triumphantly entering and his followers escorting him into town. Yet there still not quit there. They are standing outside the gates to Jerusalem. On this road, I too find myself wanting to not take another step. What will I see or what will happen if I continue along this Lenten weary road.

There is so much that happens in this most holiest of weeks: the washing of the disciples’ feet, the gathering at the table, Jesus’ crucifixion and death and then the empty tomb. The truth is we cannot have Easter without experiencing the reality and pain of the rest of Holy Week. Easter cannot come without traveling through each of these holy days as we experience and witness the cost of God’s love as Jesus dies on the cross for all of us.

As we walk along this weary road, I know that more than ever I am in need of the Easter promises. I need to be reminded again and again that life not death has the final word. “Easter says you can put death in the grave, but it won’t stay there (Clarence W Hall)

Easter blossoms from the empty barren Lenten road to a road scattered with new life. Butterflies flutter around the empty tomb. Tulips sprout forth on that cracked barren Lenten weary road. Paraphrased from Psalm 30:5, “Death comes for the night, but joy; Easter joy comes with the morning.”

But before we can get there, me must first wallow in this week. We must experience all it has to offer. We must sit at the Holy table knowing we will be welcomed even if we deny or betray Christ like Peter and Judaea did the night before his death. We must let our feet be washed by the master. We must stand at the foot of the cross watching as Jesus breathes his last; hearing him utter, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” We must stand vigil and lay his body to rest in the tomb.

But then on Easter morning, we must proclaim that death has been defeated. The grave is empty. The road is no longer cracked and barren but is busting forth with new life. We must triumphantly declare, “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”

Linking up with Holly and the Ra Ra linkup, Mary and Tell His Story, Sue and Let’s Have Coffee!

Sunday Blessings 249

(1) A pick me up from Deja Brew

(2) Fun mail

(3) Watching our community come together during a time of loss.

(4) A great day in Minot with RD, KD etc.

(5) Olive Garden goodness!

(6) Kind words

(7) A great Palm Sunday!

(8) Running into JR and others in Minot

(9) Luna Lovegood and all her silliness!

(10) An awesome PLN

Lacking Nothing?

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “lack.” We would love to have you join us.

There is food on my table.

There is a pillow for me to lay my head at night.

There are people I love.

Yet I look around my community

Around our world

And I see there are many

Lacking these things.

Some are sleeping in their cars.

Some are on friends couches.

They are searching for food.

How can we help those who are lacking?

As Holy Week begins, I can’t help but think of Jesus

Jesus was lacking nothing

Yet he died on the cross.

Jesus came because God loves us all so much.

We lack nothing

When we are surrounded and embraced

By God’s love!